Nancy's Books

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Writing a Middle Grade Novel/Call for Submissions

Today, I’m continuing the series, Writing a Middle Grade Novel.
We want our readers to be “there.” To feel the excitement, the wind, the joy, the fear, and more in the journey of the character.  Descriptive passages create an illusion. The illusion of reality pulls the reader into the middle of the action and holds the reader there through the last page. Description is the image-making power of the story. It engages the reader by making the characters and action seem real.

The setting may seem unimportant compared to character, plot, and voice, but descriptive setting enhance the realism. In mysteries, frightful settings play a critical role if sights, sounds, smells, taste, and touch are conveyed through sensory details. Touch can send goosebumps down a reader’s spine if the character is in a scary setting and something bumps him. Fog or smoke can blur the character’s vision and make the setting creepier or seem more dangerous. Portraying a specific locale with sensory descriptors allows the writer to make a setting appear so real the reader can almost step into the pages of the book.

In Amazing Grace, I wrote:

Riding shotgun suited me fine. I loved to perch in the front seat by the driver. Besides, I was on the lookout for something. As we rounded a curve on Route 23 past Louisa, a row of Burma Shave signs popped into view. I read the signs to Johnny:

Don’t stick

Your elbow

Out so far

It might go home

In another car.

In writing this scene, my goal was to transport the reader back in time to some of America’s first roadside billboards, the Burma Shave signs. 

Next week, I’ll give more tips on writing descriptive passages. 

[I will resume Call for Submissions for Young Writers in September.] 

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
The Wolfe Pack's Black Orchid Novella Award. Recommended free contest gives $1,000 and publication in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine for the best traditional mystery novella. Contest sponsor The Wolfe Pack is the official fan club for Nero Wolfe, a legendary fictional sleuth created by Rex Stout in a series of mystery novels published from 1934 to 1975. Entries should be 15,000-20,000 words. See website for thematic and stylistic restrictions. Essentially, they are looking for an old-fashioned story of deduction, with a witty style and an engaging relationship between the characters, and no explicit sex or violence.
Deadline May 31

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